The crisis years 1929-1940

The autumn of 1929 marked the start of a global economic crash. Share prices tumbled, companies went bankrupt and closed their doors, leaving their staff unemployed, while the Dutch government failed to stimulate the economy. The number of Dutch people out of work rose from 125,000 in 1928 to 160,000 in 1929, 282,000 in 1931 and 594,000 in 1935.

 

This global economic crisis of the 1930s had already hit the farming industry in 1925, however. Due to falling consumption and overproduction, prices on the global markets started to fall from 1925 onwards. As a result, from 1926 to 1937 the average Dutch farm was running at a loss. Farm labourers in permanent jobs were earning more than their employers.

 

Farmers in the Oldambt area also struggled to cope with the crisis, as the prices they received for their products declined. At the same time farm labourers were demanding higher wages and better pay for women and young people. On 1 May 1929 they went on strike. This lasted for five months.

 

Some farmers fell into financial difficulty and had to sell their assets. In many cases these were sold at a public auction.